Welcome to the Hooniverse News! As always, this is a weekly recap of the biggest stories in the automotive industry without the fluff or bull. This week: Ferrari drops the top on the SF90, BMW makes another really ugly car, Rivian leaks show pricing, launch date, and a range extending battery pack for the R1T and R1S, Audi makes a killer RS6 GTO concept, Porsche Motorsport marks their final GTLM race in IMSA with a special livery, Acura brings back a gorgeous paint from the original NSX, and we talk about the Ford eTransit.
Ferrari SF90 Spider
In more 1%er news, Ferrari is doing the thing it does with all of their supercars and releasing an open top version. The SF90 plug-in-hybrid supercar is the latest to receive the Spider treatment. The car that is sort of the successor to the LaFerrari, I guess, deploys similar technology to achieve some incredible numbers. Yet Ferrari claims this car is about the thrill of driving rather than just performance alone, and this open top monster lends to that philosophy.
The powertrain is unchanged from the “normal” SF90 but it doesn’t need to be. Power originates from a 4.0-liter turbocharged V8 which contributes 769 horsepower on its own and three electric motors which kick in another 217 horsepower. This AWD Ferrari gets to play with a total 986 horsepower and puts it down pretty well with a 0-60 mph time of 2.5 seconds. An eight-speed dual clutch transmission fires off rapid gear changes all the way to the car’s top speed of 211 mph. It’s capable of driving on electric power alone for a range of around 15 miles, which is meant for city centers and sneaking home at 4 AM after you were out too late doing rich person stuff.
Ferrari chose a folding hard top because of its optimal noise insulation and its protection from the elements when raised. It also won’t deform at high speed, takes up minimal space when folded, and is very light, weighing only 88 pounds or so heavier than the fixed hard top counterpart. The whole thing can be actioned in just 14 seconds. Ferrari didn’t mention the need of any chassis reinforcements but they did have to make some small but consequential changes to the aero for it all to work.
The Ferrari SF90 Spider costs around half a million I guess and goes on sale whenever you see Schmee with one.
[Source: Ferrari via Jalopnik]
Good news! BMW has finally begun to expand the i electric lineup again with an all important fully electric SUV. Bad news: it looks like this.
Going on sale early 2022 and thus giving BMW plenty of time to change their minds, the iX is the new electric flagship that will likely be what they need to become a serious EV contender. Everyone wants an SUV right now and an increasing amount of people want EVs, so BMW is already a bit late to the game here. But they’re coming out swinging.
It rides on a new modular architecture that’s scalable and will certainly be seen more in the near future. The iX is about the size of the X5. It contains a battery pack within the floorboards which powers two electric motors, one at each axle. No word on the capacity of said battery but they do claim it will be made sustainably with no rare earths. It can produce up to 500 horsepower and deliver a driving range of over 300 miles. Buyers won’t be able to see any of that because BMW has made the engine bay (so to speak) inaccessible to mere mortals. Only BMW technicians can get in there.
BMW packed this thing with neat tech and features. One of those is a panoramic glass roof with multiple layers of film inside which block UV rays even when clear and can shade the cabin when commanded. The computer systems on board were given a significant performance increase as well, capable of handling 20 times the data volume of previous BMWs. This will coincide with an autonomous system being made available in the future.
And don’t worry, there’s even a feature to protect that valuable asset up front. That’s right, the beaver teeth are protected with a coating of polyurethane which is self healing. Minor scratches can be repaired within 24 hours at room temperature or five minutes with warm air blowing on it. That’s good. We wouldn’t want anything to happen to that.
While it’s ugly as shit, this is a very important EV for BMW. This will be the car that can truly establish them as a major player in EV space, if it works as they claim. You’d think they would make it a little less offensive though for something so important… but BMW is gonna BMW. That interior looks killer though. Maybe that team should have more influence over the exterior design.
Rivian RT1 and R1S starting price, launch dates leaked
One of the most exciting EV startups is edging closer to selling their first round of production vehicles. Leaked documents picked up by Rivian Owners’ Forum seem to have revealed some key details like starting price, the on sale date, and a neat patent that could make its way to production.
The documents claim that the R1T pickup will start at $67,500 and climb quickly depending on trim levels and equipment and will launch next June. Meanwhile the R1S SUV will start at $70,000 even and will be available from next August. Rivian will likely start with the launch editions first, meaning normal buyers without a reservation might have to wait till later in 2021 or early 2022 to be able to pick one up.
That’s not all the leaked this week though. Rivian filed a patent for a removable battery pack that essentially takes the place of a truck bed toolbox. But instead of sitting empty with a Yeti and Salt Life sticker on it, this one would provide a substantial improvement in driving range. This would be useful for those who are brave enough to take their Rivian deep into the wilderness, as their marketing has suggested you should, but are sensible enough to realize there are no charging stations in said deep wilderness. You can see the patent drawings on Jalopnik.
Audi RS6 GTO Concept
Just in case you needed some eye candy today, a ridiculously cool project from Audi was leaked by Autocar this week. It’s an RS6 Avant from our dreams. Built by a “group of apprentices” at Audi’s Neckarsulm factory, it celebrates 40 years of Quattro AWD by paying homage to one of the most famous race cars to carry the tech – the legendary 90 Quattro IMSA GTO.
Complete with a boxy and beautiful bodykit, side exit exhaust, some of the raddest wheels I’ve ever seen, and a modern take on the legendary racing livery, this RS6 GTO Concept is one of the best things I’ve seen this year. This isn’t the official unveiling obviously, so details are scarce and the pictures are low resolution. But check out the full gallery of what Autocar found while we wait for the full reveal.
Porsche’s final weekend in GTLM
This weekend’s 12 Hours of Sebring which is definitely not in March anymore marks the final race of what has been a very strange IMSA season. And with it goes a very special team. Porsche Motorsport announced earlier this year that the pandemic has forced them to leave America’s premiere sports car class. As they take to the grid for their final IMSA GTLM race, they’ll be wearing a special livery to say goodbye.
The two Porscshe 911 RSRs run by CORE Autosport will each wear a unique livery inspired by the nation’s colors with “THANK YOU” placed all around the car. If there’s one thing this team has done better than anyone in the IMSA field, it’s their various throwback liveries that have paid tribute to some legendary cars from Porsche’s racing history. This one just hits differently though.
This car and this team have been a mainstay in North American sports car racing since 2014. Porsche Motorsport and CORE Autosport have picked up numerous championships and endurance titles. Even if they weren’t up front, they were always a thorn in someone’s sides. One of the classiest, most competitive, and most fun teams in IMSA won’t be around next year. And that hurts.
What’s worse is BMW is also contemplating going to an endurance only schedule next year, meaning we’ll only see them for Daytona, Sebring, Watkins Glen, and Road Atlanta. Unless Corvette wants to parade their C8.R around at the rest of those races by themselves, they’ll go to the same schedule. Other teams may step in to fill the void in GTLM but nothing is official yet. One of the biggest teams left in GTLM is gone after this weekend and that may signal the end for one of the most exciting class of race cars in America. A planned GT convergence within IMSA is starting to look more and more crucial.
So if you’re track side at Sebring this weekend, enjoy Porsche’s final race in the class and what may be one final hurrah for GTLM as a whole.
I’m not crying. It’s just something in both of my eyes.
Long Beach Blue Pearl returns to the NSX
Acura has been slowly bringing back some of the paint options from the original NSX as heritage paints, and this week Long Beach Blue Pearl joined the club. That along with Berlina Black and Indy Yellow can add a touch of heritage to a car that has signaled the future for the brand since its inception.
The original Long Beach Blue Pearl is one of the rarest colors you can find on the first-generation NSX, with only 88 cars painted in the color during the four years it was available. It’s not limited this time around but does command a $1,000 premium. The color is also appropriate given Acura’s title sponsorship of the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach, which may be allowed to take place next year. Hopefully.
2022 Ford eTransit
This is huge news. So huge that it warranted its own story. Ford has followed up on a promise to deliver an electrified Transit cargo van as a 2022 model year. Chris Tracy has the details here.
What’s your automotive news?
That’s all I’ve got for you this week, so now it’s your turn. If you saw anything, fixed something, broke everything, or otherwise did anything even remotely car related that you want to share with your fellow hoon, sound off in the comments.
Have a good weekend.